Archive for the 'Locations' category

Announcing the Great National Trails Research Road Trip!

 | March 7, 2009 8:06 pm

The KJAZZ pledge drive is over! It was quite a success, but kept me VERY busy this last month. I’ve barely had a chance to start planning my next road trip, but I’ll be leaving late next week. I’m focusing on doing research and interviews on the National Trails. This trip I’ll be heading up again through California, Oregon and Washington. Not sure yet how I’m heading back down. Much of it will depend on the weather I suppose.

I’m looking forward to seeing some friends in the Bay Area, Portland and Seattle, but mostly this will be a working trip. I’ll have 6 weeks or so on the road and already I’m feeling overwhelmed by everything I want to research and see. I’ll be passing through areas tied to the following trails:

  • Juan Batista de Anza
  • Pacific Crest
  • Pony Express
  • California
  • Oregon
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Nez Perce

Depending on what the return route ends up being I may cross the Continental Divide Trail or the Morman Trail as well.

Yesterday, I spoke for a long time with Travis Boley who manages the Oregon-California Trail Association and he’s been fantastic in helping me get a start on figuring out who to contact and hopefully interview while I’m out on the road. Looking for more suggestions though.

Anyone have favorite historic or trail related spots? Any ideas for topics for some short-form (6-10 minute) audio documentaries or people to interview?

Indie Travel Article

 | February 14, 2009 9:37 am

I have a new (Ok, actually it’s been up for a few days and I’ve just been swamped) article up on the Indie Travel Podcast Website. Since it’s about organizing and sharing all the pictures you take on your travels I should probably follow my own advice and start posting the second half of my pictures from Hawaii.

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I think this was the coolest beach in Hawaii. One of the nice things about having a friend or relative in the area you’re traveling to is that you get to hear about all the cool places not in the guide books. My cousin told us about a beach in an industrial area of Kauai where there used to be a glass factory. The factory isn’t there any more, but the broken glass has been worn smooth from the ocean over many years. It’s not a very scenic place, but if you go you’ll be looking down anyway. Here’s the view of the beach from a point further out in the water:

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As we entered the beach to the right of the picture and at first all we found is really small, sandsize pieces of glass. Most of it is clear or amber and the sand itself is black so it was sort of interesting, but not quite the big deal that my cousin had made it out to be. But as you walk further along the cliffs along the left of the picture the sand and glass pictures get larger and larger and we started to see what he was talking about. The first picture was taken about 3/4th of the way along the little beach where the pieces were pebble sized. Talking to a nearby shopkeeper later in the afternoon I found out that we were there at a lucky time because the last few days had been stormy. Apparently it’s now pretty common to go there and discover the glass is all washed out to sea (after all the factory isn’t there anymore), but the storms tend to wash it back up on the beach.

The beach is in Port Allen in Kauai. If you happen to be nearby any of the locals should be able to give you directions. But other tourists won’t be of any help. It’s not in the guide books.

Within a two minute walk of the beach is an old abandoned Japanese cemetery, rich with photographic opportunities. This was my favorite shot:

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Kalalau trail, but not to the Kalalau Valley

 | January 5, 2009 6:04 pm

Alas, I did not make it to the Kalalau Valley on my hike. The whole trail is 11 miles with a campground 6 miles in. My plan had been to go the first 6 miles, camp and then hit the rest the next day. The second half includes some pretty crazy cliffs off of a tiny trail. Or so I’m told. I didn’t make it past the 6 mile mark. Those first 6 miles took me 9.5 hours and when it poured rain all night and the next morning I decided I didn’t feel like doing those cliffs. So I turned around and did the first 4 miles back, camped another night and did the last 2 miles the third day. Hitched a ride down to Kaapa and hung out with my cousin for a couple days, (more on that in a future post). Perhaps I chose a rather ambitious trail for my very first backpacking trip. (It’s rated a 9 most places I read). By the time I got to the 2 mile marker I realized that I might be over my head when it was clear that my (I thought) conservative guess of 1 mile per hour needed to be changed to 1 mile per hour and a half.

Oh well, at least I got an idea of what backpacking is like, (even if I did spend only 3 days rather than 6 out there). I don’t think I’ll be doing the Appalachian Trail anytime soon, but I would still like to do some shorter trail (hopefully with more success than the Kalalau trail). In fact, I think I’m going to make it one of my new year’s resolutions to do either a backpacking or bicycling trip sometime this year.

First day back on the road.

 | March 17, 2008 2:04 pm

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Ahh, that’s why I’m traveling. What a gorgeous road and I never knew about it.

I headed out of Los Angeles on the 5 freeway on Thursday night and stayed in Taft, CA. In the morning I stumbled upon the Taft Oil Museum while getting lost trying to leave the city in the right direction. It’s a really lovely museum. It focuses more on the history of the town rather than oil specifically, but since the town started as an oil mining town it still makes sense to call it an oil museum. Eventually there will be a replica oil mining camp from the buildings on the ground. Most of those were closed while was there so I just enjoyed wandering around the main museum.

Driving around Taft, the area reminded me of what I suspect Los Angeles must have looked like in it’s early history. Low mountains surrounding a flat plain dotted with oil derricks. The scene above is near the beginning of highway 58, the route I was taking to get from the 5 to highway 1 along the coast. cows-otside-of-taft-ca.jpgA fabulous road to start off the trip with. And the perfect example of the happy cows of California that are suppose to produce the best cheese. It seemed appropriate to stop and have lunch, (which did include cheese), on the side of the road near these cows. They were all a little concerned about my presence there, but it was fun to watch the young ones playing.

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Further along the road, the buffalo couldn’t care less that I’d stopped. They stayed right up next to the fence making sure they got every blade of grass. I’d never seen buffalo up close, so I stuck around and took pictures here too. Anything really to break up the driving some. This was a long day as far as mileage covered since I wanted to skip anything that could be seen on a weekend trip from Los Angeles and I wanted to get up to the Bay area while it was still the weekend and I could visit with friends easily.

I’ve just realized I didn’t upload any pictures of Soda Lake, the whole point of taking this route between the 5 and the 1. I’ll have to add one on a later post, but it’s quite an interesting spot. It’s in the northern top of Carrizo National Monument, an area that is shaped by the San Andreas fault, which runs through it. A long time ago, (a quick google search isn’t giving me any dates, so you’ll have to get vague knowledge), much of what’s now California was covered by the ocean. That ocean shaped the land that we see now, (and the ancient sea life caused the oil deposits).

Carrizo National Monument and Soda Lake is a spot that I think I will have to visit again on a weekend trip from Los Angeles to explore more. For that first day however it was on to Highway 1 and the Big Sur.

Much has been written about the California coastline and the drive along Highway 1.  It was a great drive for the sunset, but, of course, when you driving that winding road it takes quite a while to do. I stopped when it got dark and enjoyed it again in the morning light. I will not even attempt to do it justice here. I’ll just brag about the view outside my window when I woke up:

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Below, you can just barely see the spot where I stayed, way off in the distance. It was the furthest curve of the coastline in this picture.

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Along the way I listened to the start of Kevin Starr’s history of California as a book on tape. Very interesting focus a mental understanding of the history while driving around the state and focusing a mental picture of what it encompasses physically as well.

It was all along gorgeous roads, but quite a lot of driving for the first day. I enjoyed spending the last two days hanging out with friends in the bay area and am going to be doing the same thing for the next couple days as well. After that heading off north to spend some time in Point Reyes in Marin County. One of my favorite places in the US.

Albuquerque

 | December 24, 2007 8:14 pm

An excellent way to get a quick history of Albuquerque is to take the free tour of old town offered by the Albuquerque Museum of Art. I was lucky enough to be the only person on the tour on the day I went which made it even better.  Highly recommended.

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